Luis Suarez may have been written off as a serious threat to becoming the top Premier League scorer on account of missing the opening five games of the campaign because of suspension, but being a permanent starter for their clubs has not been a criterion for winners of this accolade in the past decade.
In fact, looking back at the last 10 years of top scorers, only Robin van Persie in the last two seasons has started more than 33 league games for his clubs, with the Dutchman featuring in all 38 games of these campaigns for first Arsenal and then Manchester United.
But prior to him, going back to Thierry Henry’s top-scoring season of 2004/05, Nicolas Anelka was the leading marksman to have started the most games for his club, when being on the pitch from the opening whistle in 33 fixtures for Chelsea in 2008/09.
If Suarez starts every league game for the remainder of this season, which is possible given Liverpool’s lack of European involvement, he will match this figure.
Meanwhile, Dimitar Berbatov needed just 24 starts to be crowned top scorer in 2010/11 at Manchester United, while in the season previous, Didier Drogba only featured in 31 games to claim the Golden Boot.
In the last 10 seasons, all of the Premier League top scorers have at least played some part in 31 top-flight fixtures, meaning that Suarez cannot really afford to miss more than two more across the remainder of the campaign.
Suarez’ hat-trick against West Brom has taken his tally to six in just four games already this season, with strike partner Daniel Sturridge and Manchester City’s Sergio Aguero the only two players to have netted more.
The fallout is that Suarez is the new favourite to be named Premier League top scorer at 10/3, with Van Persie and Aguero next in the betting at 5/1.
However, it is worth remembering that Liverpool are yet to play Arsenal, Chelsea, Man City or Tottenham yet, which could hinder the Uruguayan’s chances of future goals. Although he did score against all these teams last season, including in both meetings with Chelsea.
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